Bacon Fried Rice and the Art of Getting Snowed In

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Northeast got hit with a record-making blizzard last weekend. Connecticut in particular, won the highest snow totals – the New Haven area received 40 inches. Won being a relative term. Yes, I know this is SNOWFLAKE Kitchen… but even I don’t know a single person in this universe that is happy to clean up after a 40 inch storm. Or 35 inches or however much my ‘hood actually got. It was pretty impossible to tell with the wind and drifting. I do know that I spent way too much time dually glued to the Connecticut Light and Power outage map and our Governor’s Twitter feed – which seems to become my m.o. for dealing with these ever-more-frequent natural disasters. And only because we were fortunate enough to keep our power. All of my loved ones stayed lit and warm this storm, but many Nutmeggers spent a cold, cold night in the dark in the howling wind.

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Oh well, climate change is just a theory, right? Moving on.

Despite the cleanup, it was gorgeous outside. For a while, anyway. And as I reflect on it, the more I realize there is an art to getting snowed in. Part cliché, part doomsday prepper – anyone can hoard stuff. So why is it that when there is a forecast of impending doom, most people rush to the store to buy eggs, bread and milk? I never understood that. What are you going to make, endless french toast? While there used be forced inspiration in chest freezer triage, admittedly, our storm prep has changed quite a bit with the acquisition of a generator. We always buy plenty of things to eat and it doesn’t matter too much about its shelf-stability.

But oftentimes, you find yourself stuck inside with plenty to eat, but no fun food. A friend said it best this week – when you are snowed in you don’t want the same old thing to munch on with your newly purchased booze. (What – isn’t the first stop on everyone’s storm prep list the liquor store? I thought that one went without saying. Ahem.) I cooked half a package of Terra Firma Farm bacon Saturday morning – part of a late brunch to say THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU to my guy for beginning the long process of shoveling us out. Still – half a package for two people = leftovers. And wanting something warm, comforting and fun while Nemo or Charlotte or whatever-its-name-was raged outside. I looked in the fridge and after surveying all of the options, wanted none of them. My careful storm prep and planned meals aside – it was time for something different. And I daresay no one would call bacon fried rice unfun, especially during Mardi Gras season. Laissez les bacon temps rouler!

Bacon Fried Rice by Snowflake Kitchen

Bacon Fried Rice
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 quart leftover Chinese takeout white rice
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 cup frozen peas
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup water
2 eggs, scrambled
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

First and foremost – mise en place. This recipe comes together quickly. Place a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. In another small non-stick skillet, add your scrambled eggs. Do not stir – your goal is to make an egg pancake. Flip if necessary. Once solid, chop into small chunks and set aside. In the large skillet, add the oils and once shimmering, throw in the peas and bell pepper. Add the garlic to the peas and pepper and cook for a minute, then add the rice to your vegetables.

Quickly realize the fridge has dried out your takeout rice, stand back and add the half cup of water. Top steaming skillet with a lid and let the rice steam for a minute or so. Throw in chopped bacon and egg. You may need to add a little more oil to get the rice to fry – err on the side of less sesame oil.  Fry to the texture of your liking and top with toasted sesame seeds.

There are definite modifications to be made depending on what you have on hand and – full disclosure – how much you care. Fried rice is about making something delicious out of leftovers. Make it your own. And definitely make enough for breakfast the next day.

Bacon Fried Rice for Breakfast by Snowflake Kitchen

Preserver’s Tikka Masala

Like most people, J and I are trying to make informed choices to start off 2013. Move more. (Hooray desk jobs!) Spend deliberately. (Age old needs vs. wants, but also save and prioritize now that we both have stable jobs – for the moment, anyway. Ah, adulthood.) Eat smartly. (More fruit & veg, cook new things, eat out of our pantry). So – you know – the goals of probably 90% of us this time of year.

I have always loved Indian food. My hometown had just one Indian restaurant – nestled on the edge of town sharing space with a motel. It had at least three names that I can remember (and I assume just as many owners) – but it always had a Sunday fixed price buffet. It became a regular tradition to head out there after church (or – true confession - during ”church!”) where we would nothing short of gorge ourselves on biriyani, samosas, pakora, and anything else that made it out to the buffet table. And I was hooked. To this day – if the budget allows, I will always go for Indian when given the choice.

And that’s a big if. While I sort of live in the boonies, I do have more than one takeout choice for my comforting curries and naan. But that said – takeout or eat in, its always at minimum $30 for two people. Not the least expensive option around. So in the spirit of the new year, when the latest craving hit, I started researching recipes. I found one that not only was fairly healthy, but would also please my picky eater better half. And – I had almost all of the ingredients already on hand.

Preserver's Tikka Masala

You’ve got the spices, chicken, herbs and pantry essentials ready to go in addition to that multipurpose tomato puree you put up in September, right? Right. If you have a reasonably well-stocked pantry – you should only have to go out for some cream. Yes, CREAM. Given there is an overwhelming half a cup in a recipe that served two of us for dinner in addition to two leftover lunches, I think it can still be considered a healthy recipe.

Pull your chicken out of the chest freezer and thaw in the fridge overnight. You can marinate the chicken in spices if you wish, but I noticed no flavor difference when I made this all at once after work. Dredge the chicken in flour and then sear in a skillet – in batches if necessary. At the same time, melt your cilantro cubes in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. What? You have no cilantro cubes in oil? Seriously – I saw that post EVERYWHERE this summer. If you still have fresh herbs on your windowsill this time of year – of course use those, but add them at the very end. I add the frozen cilantro in oil at the beginning of this recipe to make use of the oil – otherwise adding it at the end would be too much. No cilantro at all? No sense in buying one of those terrible plastic packets at the store – just add extra coriander or omit – up to you.

Once the oil has melted, add your ginger, garlic, and onion. Once they have browned a bit, add all of the spices. The goal is to toast and brown the mix to give it flavor. While you can toast your spices and then add them, I find it easier to take an extra few minutes to brown them in the same pot. Add chicken once the spices are fragrant. If it looks too oily, add another tablespoon of flour and cook for another minute. Empty in a pint of roasted tomato puree and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Just before you are ready to eat, stir in the cream and simmer for another few minutes.

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Serve with rice, homemade naan & aloo gobi, and enjoy a quick departure from your normal routine. Here’s to 2013.

Bourbon Ginger Hot Toddy

And here I said I was going to be around more and December 2012 went and sucked the words right out of me.

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Well, that and the wretched cold I’ve picked up. Picked up, as in I left for work this morning perfectly healthy – if a little grumpy to be heading back to the office – and a few hours later I had the worst sinus headache, runny nose and all around fogginess in recent memory. Or long term memory – I am almost never sick. Even stranger, I came home and feel worlds better than hours ago at work – no medicine of any kind.

Clearly I am allergic to work and I should never have to go back. Fine by me, as long as they keep up that direct deposit thing.

Maybe it’s just life telling me to slow down, have a cup of something strong and hot, and take some vitamin C. I definitely have that last one down – as I seem to be going through a crate of clementines a week – and it would be faster than that if I weren’t rationing them a bit. Some winter citrus, a little bourbon – just what the doctor ordered.

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Bourbon Ginger Hot Toddy
At least one ounce bourbon
Two dehydrated meyer lemon slices or a squeezed wedge of fresh
A small slice of raw ginger – skin and all
Two heaping tablespoons local honey
Boiling water

I usually add the bourbon first, after I’ve put the kettle on. How sick are you feeling? Is this preventative? Is it all in your head? One ounce, then. *cough cough* A little more under the weather? Top it off a bit. I like bourbon (clearly, as you’ve noticed, dear readers) but almost any liquor of choice will do. Spiced rum, whiskey, applejack, even tequila and gin all have toddy versions. Go with what you like.

I throw in the lemon and ginger together and then drizzle honey over them both. For efficiency’s sake – pour the hot water over your honeyed spoon so you can have clean utensils ready to go for round two. Cause let’s face it – you’re going to need a second.

Mix up the spices, citrus and booze. Stick with the heat and ginger, though – for the, uh, medicinal qualities of course. I’m already planning new versions – grapefruit, gin and maple syrup. Applejack and cardamom with dark buckwheat honey. Not into the liquor? Add your favorite tea instead. Truth be told – I don’t care if it’s entirely the placebo effect – one or two of these sets me right as rain every time. Happy 2013 indeed.

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PS: If anyone has any other sinus headache tips or thoughts on how to do that whole stay home and still get paid thing, I am all ears.

Sandy (Hook)

After the last three months, its pretty safe to say the word Sandy will forever make me cringe. No one knows what to say after a day like Friday. I am still trying to get my head around it, and I think I never will, really.

I grew up 20 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary, and my parents still live there. Newtown is very much like the communities that surround it – small town, close-knit, everyone knows everyone. My mom works in my hometown’s insurance agency, and whenever we talk on the phone she always fills me in on the local gossip. Did you hear so-and-so is getting married? I talked to [lawyer you used to work for] the other day – he asked about you. Town came to a standstill today when someone backed over the stone wall in front of the post office. It’s New England though – so even though everyone sort of knows everyone else’s business, we all sort of keep to ourselves. It seems, though, that these days, as we grieve as a community, we find out that we really do share the important things.

The national news shouldn’t be reporting from Danbury Hospital, but they are. Danbury effing Hospital – where only last year my dad was treated for a heart attack and almost 21 years ago where my brother was born. And now the freaking Westboro Baptist Church – yes, those insatiable asshats – are taking it upon themselves to roll into town parading their ignorance and hate speech. It seems that all I can manage is to clutch a mug of something warm and stare out the window shaking my head.

You see: this kind of thing shouldn’t happen at all, but it just. doesn’t. happen. here.

The weather today reflects my mood: cold, cloudy, intermittent wintry mix. I’m having trouble smiling. I’m having trouble thinking of anything else. Going through the motions doesn’t begin to describe.

I’m not a parent, and I grieve. I’m not a teacher, and I grieve. I suppose I grieve as a Connecticut native. And I grieve with the world for my state and the region where I grew up.

And then it was November.

If you read other seasonal preserving blogs, you know posting dies down in shoulder season. Because there are tomatoes and corn, raspberries and ever-bearing strawberries, summer and winter squash, all before the pommes roll in – and because we are all a little insane, we try to do it ALL. There has been more than one Sunday where I brought home two CSA bags, 50 lbs of tomatoes, 25 lbs of leftover farmers’ market apples, and – what the hell – my favorite orchard had a deal on a flat of fall raspberries.

When you end your Sundays absolutely wiped out, work Monday morning is trying. Hell, when you are in a job that drives you crazy – every Monday morning is trying. And then Monday rolls into Tuesday, which seems the same as Wednesday… and before you know it its Saturday and you have another metric ton of veg, CSA, and bulk pickup headed your way. Every. single. day. seemed like nothing but triage.

I am one of those people who externalizes internal disorder. My kitchen will be full of unfinished projects and dirty dishes, I will have piles upon piles of dirty laundry next to a floordrobe, and I will come home from work every day, pour myself a drink, and pretend it doesn’t exist. But, as life sorts itself out, so too does my environment. I have a different job now – one that adds to my life instead of takes away from it. My closet is organized and everything in it has a purpose. And most importantly – my kitchen is CLEAN and EFFICIENT.

I’ll be the first to admit it – our fall storms last year left scars. I still spent too much time in the very spot I type in now, waiting for the gunshot crack of a tree snapping in the storm – waiting to see if our house was in its path. And I don’t need to talk about life without power or my past losses, because the Northeast experienced them all over again a year to the day. We were very, very lucky this time, but so many had (and still have weeks later) opposite fortunes.

There have been wonderful things cooking around here since July. Grilled peach bourbon butter, plums in wine and honey, hucklebourbon jam, sweet pepper and spicy squash relish, roasted salsa verde, pear cranberry butter with maple and ginger, really excellent fermented apple cider vinegar… and more recently: vanilla quince butter, membrillo and kimchi. Plans for a big batch of seckel pears in spiced syrup this week. It’s a shame – typing up posts on some of them would be so cruel as the snow melts from our first nor’easter.

I, for one, am thankful for the break. Writing is like cooking – you can always tell when your heart just isn’t in it. It’s not something you can fake. But as the seasons reset, life shakes itself out, and things slow down for a few months, you will likely see me around these parts more often. And as cheesy as it sounds – I am so very glad you are still here.

Pickled Blues

I was invited to the Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market this past Sunday. The weekend’s theme was Blueberries and Bluegrass. After a decent strawberry yield (does anyone else remember last year’s strawberries going on forever?), a quick summer raspberry season and a blink-and-you-miss it cherry season, Connecticut was due for some beautiful and plentiful fruit.

At the beginning of the growing season, I overdose on strawberries. I mean WAY too much. Like six varieties of strawberry jams and two more preserves too much. That said – after I crack open my last jar of strawb something in the bleak midwinter, the anticipation of REAL local taste-like-nothing-else strawberries in June makes them that much sweeter. You can absolutely make blueberry jam, with these very same spices (if, unlike me, you need another jam), but at this point I am in the mood for something different.

I made this preserve for the first time last summer, and in a very double duty kind of way ended up with whole berries and almost another jar of blueberry vinegar. Perfect for vinaigrette, a blueberry soda, or one heckuva blueberry martini.

Hot Pack Pickled Blueberries
Adapted from Hungry Tigress’ Whole Pickled Blueberries
2-3 quarts of blueberries
2 cups 5% apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fenugreek

Tigress does this recipe over two days. While I love the idea, I never have that kind of time or fridge space this time of year. So I heat blueberries, spices and vinegar until just simmering, and then immediately turn off the heat. While you can put the spices in any way you like, I like to put them in a cloth bag or tea ball for easy removal. You can leave them in, but spices have a way of intensifying (for better or worse) in the jar. While the spices infuse in the vinegar (and the vinegar infuses in the blueberries for that matter), heat up your canner. (New to canning? The National Center for Home Preservation is a great resource for boiling waterbath instructions.) When the jars are thoroughly boiled, add the sugar, bring the blues back to a simmer. Simmer for just a minute or two to keep the fruit intact. With a slotted spoon, put the fruit in your jar of choice (I like wide mouth half pints) and top with hot vinegar syrup, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Process for 15 minutes.

Like most pickles, this needs a few weeks to really come into its own. While you can store this pickle with a good seal for up to a year in a cool dark space, I would wait at least two weeks before cracking open your first jar.

Options
This recipe can easily be adapted to stone fruit – plums, peaches, or cherries would be lovely. I dont think other delicate berries would stand up to the process.

You could turn this into a fridge pickle by combining the ingredients and then stopping before the waterbath step. Ladle into a jar of choice, let cool, and refrigerate.

Use vinegar of your choice, but if you intend on canning the recipe, make sure the bottle says 5% acidity. If you want it to be a fridge pickle only, any vinegar is your pleasure.

I love fenugreek in my sweet pickles. Cloves, allspice or bay would also be good additions here.

Windham Gardens CSA Week Six

In the bag this week: Pattypan squash, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Dragon’s Tongue Beans, Wax Beans, Green Beans, Garlic, Parsley, Basil, Swiss Chard, Pickling Cukes

I seem to be having one of those weeks, where my day job lacks proper adjectives to describe it. All I want to do after work is sit on the couch with a cocktail. I mean, more than usual. So this week, I had no plans to preserve, cook or otherwise for most of the week. Nothing. planned. Nothing. That means most of the squash, beans and greens need to be put up before more comes in next week. On weeks like this, I scour the internet for quick inspiration.

Have you checked out Punk Domestics yet? They are the first place I go for inspiration. Here are my plans for the share this week:

Sean of PD recommended this recipe: Zucchine Sott’Olio. Obviously not USDA recommended for waterbath canning, but just fine in the fridge.

Karen Solomon’s Beer Brine Pickles. Karen is the author of Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It AND Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It. She clearly knows her stuff. Plus, we always have a couple of bottles of great beer in the house. A nice change from your typical fridge pickles.

Jessie Knadler’s Zucchini Relish. Not usually a huge fan of relish, but Jessie’s claim it can turn relish skeptics with one bite? That’s quite an endorsement, worthy of putting up a few jars.

Finally, I am always down for a good batch of my own CSA Salsa. Tomatoes are just starting to come into our market, too.

For next week: anyone have a recipe to preserve beautiful Dragon’s Tongue beans and keep their color?

Windham Gardens CSA Weeks Four and Five

In the Bags: Pickling Cukes, Basil, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Garlic, Kale, Sweet Corn

This is pickle season. I mean, it can be pickle season anytime, in that you can pickle veggies of any season, but what I mean pickling cukes are in season now. My pickling cukes this year were a combination of fail: direct seeded outside extremely late, half eaten by something before they really took off, and of course slugs took the remainder. Luckily, Erin grows some awesome picklers. There will be bread and butters, dill relish, sweet relish, garlic dills… all given as holiday gifts in a few months.

I am clearly not a card-carrying pickle hater. That said, I pretty much don’t eat any of the cucumbers I put up. Processed pickles are good – far beyond any storebought ones – but I think the best pickle is a crispy, cold one. I am firmly in the camp that believes cucumbers are best when they are fresh and not when they are cooked. Hence, I am a fridge pickle devotee.

My fridge pickle recipe is simple: 1) Fill jar with spices, about 1 teaspoon each of your choice of fenugreek, coriander, mustard, dill, garlic, red chile flake, etc. 2) Fill jar with cucumbers, sliced in coins or spears 3) Fill 1/3 with vinegar. Since these are fridge pickles, you can stray from the 5% white vinegar mandate. 4) Fill 2/3 with water. 5) Cover, refrigerate for at least a week before tasting.

Basil: Pesto & Infused Vinegar

A very double duty kind of use. The basil leaves go into the food processor with toasted nuts (usually cashews), the last of the garlic scapes, salt, pepper, and enough olive oil to blend everything together. I freeze it in ice cube trays or small portions. When I defrost it, then I add more oil and parmesan before serving.

But you don’t get just basil leaves in your CSA. You also get stems, and sometimes flowers. These go into a quart jar of vinegar for later use in salads, vinaigrettes and marinades. What’s your favorite early summer CSA use?

Double Duty: Cherries (Whole Fruit in Syrup + Infusion + Preserve)

I’m pretty sure you don’t know how good you have it. Yes you, folks in the Pacific NW, where cherries are no big deal. Varying levels of tragedy have struck our local crop over the last few years… no one seems to grow them anymore as cherries are, at least in Connecticut anyway, a giant pain in the ass to maintain. The birds love them as much as we do (read: massive amounts of netting), and if we get a sudden unexpected rainy spring, much of the crop tends to split (read: very finicky). So – in short – though very few orchards grow cherries, and to do so around here they must be a little masochistic, we are very thankful that they are.

This post isn’t really double duty, it’s really triple duty. Because local cherries are $4.99/lb even when I pick them myself, and because I adore all things cherry – I am going to stretch every dollar I can carve out for them.

First Tour: Cherries in Bourbon Meyer Vanilla Syrup

Cherries + lemon. Cherries + vanilla. Cherries + bourbon. (Ok, who am I kidding – almost anything + bourbon.) YES. Why not all three? I pitted waaaaay too many sweet cherries (thanks Sarah for the help) and reserved the pits (you’ll see why in a minute). I used sweet Bing cherries, but you could use whatever kind of cherries happen to fall into your lap – sweet or sour. Now, for the laziest of infusions: I filled a few quart jars with fruit, poured 1/4 full with Bulleit Bourbon (my new obsession), topped the rest with a thin syrup, stuck in a split & scraped vanilla bean and the zest of a meyer lemon. It may not sound lazy, but it really is just pitting, making syrup, and stuffing things into a jar. Then the waiting period.

Why 24 hours? Much longer and the cherries start to discolor, and you get a decent infusion after only a day. On Day 2, once the syrup has a slight red tint, reserve some of the fruit for Tour 3, and put up the rest a la Well-Preserved. Psst: save an unprocessed jar in the fridge for a few bourbons & soda – 1/3 syrup, 2/3 soda, a few cherries and ok, maybe another splash of bourbon. You won’t be disappointed.

Second TourCherry Pit Liqueur a la What Julia Ate

First, settle your internal debate over prussic acid. If you just aren’t comfortable, compost your pits. If you feel no fear, this recipe makes something out of nothing, which I adore. I always have vodka on hand for infusions, so that’s what I used. Next year, I’ll have to try it with brandy. I haven’t had the chance to taste it yet (still infusing!) but I have a feeling this is going to make it into an apricot preserve later this summer.

Third Tour: Cherry Bourbon Ginger Preserves

Those cherries that you reserved from the infusion? Put them in a pan, mash with fresh grated ginger for flavor and crystallized ginger for color. Cook down until you’ve reached a good set. Oh wait – you walked away and it cooked down too much? Add a few more chopped fresh cherries, splash with a little bourbon and water and pay attention this time.

All in all, a satisfying way to stretch our precious, exasperating, expensive favorite cherries.

Cherries in Bourbon Meyer Vanilla Syrup
Three quarts of cherries, pitted
1 quart thin 1:2 simple syrup
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Approximately 1 cup bourbon
Zest of one meyer lemon

Make a simple syrup with a 1:2 ratio of sugar to water (i.e. 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, boil briefly until dissolved) and let cool. Pit cherries, reserve pits. Add to a glass vessel of choice (preferably one with a lid). Fill the jar 1/4 of the way with your bourbon of choice. Split and scrape a vanilla bean into the jar, and add the scraped pod. Zest a meyer lemon into the jar as well. Top with simple syrup. Close the lid, shake well, store at room temperature for no more than 24 hours.

After infusing, prepare canners, jars and lids. Reserve the vanilla bean. I like to infuse in quart jars but pack into pint or jelly jars. Cold pack into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Top with hot, wet lids and process for 15 minutes.

Use in cocktails, reduced over ice cream, make into hand pies, even make your own soda. Even eat out of the jar. I won’t tell.

Cherry Bourbon Ginger Preserves
4 cups pitted cherries
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
Splash of bourbon

Let cherries infuse (or macerate) overnight – either with the above recipe or with jam ingredients. Mash fruit, add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat until it just begins to thicken and the bubbles are about size of dimes. Pack into hot jars, top with hot, wet lids and process for 10 minutes.

This is a more liquidy preserve, but I like it that way. Spoon over yogurt, swirl into ice cream – this stuff is crazy delicious.

Windham Gardens CSA Week Three

Just before Hurricane Irene hit, I took to hurricanning like a lot of folks. I put up jam, I made strategic fruit choices, and I canned a METRIC TON of squash pickles. I was on a mission to empty our – ahem – entire produce drawer of the zukes and yellow squash. I don’t even remember how many I made, just that the mandolined squash slices filled my 10 quart food safe bucket. I mean, we sort of knew that we would lose power, we just didn’t know we would be out for over a week. I didn’t have a particular recipe, I just made it up with what I had on hand. But now, in June, as I open the second to last(!) quart of my mixed squash pickles, I think this is a recipe that I will keep around for the less desperate times too.

In the bag this week: yellow squash, zucchini, greens, corn, garlic & herbs

Mixed Squash Pickles
Thinly sliced “summer” squash – zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan, etc.
4 cups 5% white vinegar
4 cups water
4 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Bay leaves
Smashed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon each fenugreek, yellow mustard, brown mustard, black peppercorns, coriander, red chile flake

Prep your canner & set the jars to boil. Try to cut the squash in the thinnest slices possible. Using a mandoline really helps to slice the squash uniformly. As you cut your squash, fill empty jars of the same size (i.e. if you plan on putting up quarts, estimate with quarts). Don’t pack the jars too tightly – leave a little room for brine. This way, you know how many jars you will fill.

At this time, prep your brine. Add the water, vinegar, salt and sugar and bring to a simmer.

Mix the spices together, and put 1 heaping tablespoon in each. Add 1-2 garlic cloves and 1-2 bay leaves per jar. Add squash to the jars, leaving about 1 inch headspace. Top with brine, and bubble to remove any leftover air. Leave 1/4″ headspace. Top with hot, wet lids and process for 15 minutes. Keeps for one year in a dark, cool place – but as always, refrigerate after opening.